The Society of Herbarium Curators (SHC), open to everyone, is an international organization for discussion, action and support of herbaria. Created in 2005 in the southeastern United States, SHC mission is to unite herbaria across the nation and around the world.

To promote and expand the role of herbaria in botanical research, teaching, and service to the community at large, to provide a forum for discussion and action on all issues confronting herbaria, and to extend its efforts and interject its influence toward the protection and preservation of endangered herbaria.

In particular, regional networks will be used to reach out to groups that have been historically underrepresented in the botanical and conservation communities, to land managers and state and federal agencies, and to the K-12 students and teachers. SHC will work to support herbaria of all types in these regions, to help develop community standards of curation, and to make certain that herbaria are fully utilized and not orphaned by their institutions.

For the past decade, the southeastern Herbarium Curator’s Committee, a group of curators in southeastern United States have been informally meeting with the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB). The group organized a symposium entitled “The Future of Plant Collections in the Southeast” in 2001 and the concept for the expansion of this organization was developed in the ensuing workshop. Through efforts spearheaded by John Herr at the University of South Carolina, Michael Woods at Troy University and Dan Evans at Marshall University, the group developed a constitution and formally organized as the SHC on July 4, 2004. The SHC has been recognized as an affiliate society by ASB and the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society (SABS).

Specimens provide enormous economic and scientific returns to society and are irreplaceable resources that must be preserved for future generations.

American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT), http://www.aspt.net/

US herbaria contain over 70 million specimens of plants, fungi, and algae. The specimens come from many different countries although most are from the US. Together they are an enormous source of information both about today’s species and, because some are fossils, of species that are now extinct.

US Virtual Herbarium Project, http://www.usvhproject.org/

Beyond their scientific importance, herbarium collections offer many benefits to society by providing data or reference materials for critical endeavors such as agriculture, human health, biosecurity, forensics, control of invasive species, conservation biology, natural resources, and land management.

ASB, Association of Southeastern Biologists